Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meaning Well

Yesterday was a difficult day. It was full of worries, not so good news and the grinding stress of living in our sometimes unyieldingly tough world. Today, I woke up and went outside to feed the horses, and everything looked better.

It made me consider the idea that horses can embody hope. Kathleen Lindley, who worked with Mark Rashid, brings up that notion in her book, “In the Company of Horses”. She says horses “begin every day hoping for the best, even if yesterday didn’t turn out very well for them.” Seeing Silk and Siete this morning at 6 am made me feel that way. Nothing had really changed, but it was all definitely going to be okay.

As I groomed the horses, I thought about Kathleen’s book. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. She opened my mind to so many new ideas about working with my horses. At one point, she quotes Mark Rashid : “When I ride my horse, I want to give everything I have.” That thought can be extended to include all the things we do in our daily life. Whether I work with my horses, labor with my writing, or play with my daughter, I try to do it being fully present and with my best intention.

It leads to something else Mark told Kathleen one day as she entered the round pen to work with a student. “ When you go in there, you need to mean well.” Lindley believes that if you mean to help the horse, instead of trying to “make it” do what you want, the outcome will be more beneficial to both of you. So, today, I decided that with each interaction I have not only with my horses, but with my family, friends and total strangers, I will try my hardest to “mean well”.


billie said...

I've had this same revelation at least three times today!

Meaning well.

Salina has fallen in total mother love with the little donkey. It's now a chore to get her away from him, but I'm making a point to separate them for some time each day just to avoid the total nightmare that will ensue if we let her totally take him over.

It is easy to get grumpy with her; after all, she's 25 years old and has been here and done this so many times as a brood mare. But I reminded myself not once but several times today that she has gotten older and lost her primary roles - 3rd level dressage horse, fancy brood mare - and this little donkey who has come into a world of big horses speaks to her most primal instinct.

She is taking her new job so seriously.

It's all okay when I remind myself that she means well and so must I. So I've patiently haltered and walked and unhaltered and closed gates and hauled waters and done things I normally don't have to do with an established herd. It is so worth it to see her excited and involved and moving.

Hope your day and week get better and better!!

Gypsy at Heart said...

Victoria, reading what you post for a couple of weeks now, I cannot imagine that before today, 'mean well' has not been a credo by which you already live your life. I, on the other hand, will try harder to apply this do good unto others-like advice. Thanks for the reminder. P.S. I'm sorry you had a bad day and that worries hang over your shoulder. Your words inspire such goodness in mine in spite of your own troubles that I would like you to know that I'm here with my hand outstretched for if you need help.

Southern Rosex said...

I have to say i honestly love reading your posts they are amazing! it's so lovley that you love your animals so much and I love your horses they are beautiful! I love your stables as well they are so different to mine back here in england.
You really show the meaning of love and appreciation for such beautiful creatures!

detroit dog said...

I love your top photo; it reminds me of my work in grad school, and a good part of it still. "Out of focus" photos always seem to put the emotions in focus (and seem to give focus to reality, too).

The lives of animals seem to keep us on track.

Grey Horse Matters said...

" Meaning Well " is a great philosophy to live by. We should all try it more often.

Ophelia Keys said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. It's so true. Everything just seems to fall away when you're around horses.

Alykat said...

Every single time I walk into a barn and bury my face in the side of a horse, all my troubles melt away, just as you said.

If someone could package that "comfort smell" that comes from every horse, anti-depressant manufactures would be out of business!

Strawberry Lane said...

"Mean Well" ... first words in the morning could change an entire day. I'm going to work harder at that, especially outside the barn.

Victoria, I want to thank you so much for your kind words you sent about our sweet Kayla. They sure helped!